As promised two years earlier Cadillac brought to limited production their Eldorado Brougham Motorama Dream Car. This was the realization of a life's long ambition for dream car designer "Harley Earl". The hyper-luxurious Brougham was described by Cadillac management at the time as being “the most advanced auto ever built and a mirror of things to come, the worlds newest and most exclusive auto.” It is still the most complex auto ever offered to the American public with features not yet found on today's cars. This hand built milestone, with its timeless styling, left no doubt in the public's mind as to who was the king of the luxury car market.
The price for this car in 1957 was a staggering $13,500 making it the most expensive American car ever. Even more staggering was the approx. 25K (The price of an very upscale house in California at that time) it cost GM to build each one, resulting in much red ink for Cadillac. All this in the days when you could buy the top of the line regular Cadillac Biarritz Convertible for $6,500, a Rolls Royce Saloon for about $9,000, or a Ferrari for 10-12K!
Typically these magnificent rolling works of art were owned by movie stars, wealthy industrialists, gangsters, and others with very deep pockets! This was way out of the price range of the average upper income guy who had to be content with the regular Eldorado!
For your money, you took delivery of the most opulently equipped car ever to come out of Detroit. It was complete with a vanity set that included such items as an elaborate ladies compact with powder puff and lipstick holder among other interesting details. This set also included six highly polished stainless steel magnetized drinking cups that fit nicely on a fold out tray on the dashboard, a clear plastic cigarette case, matching leather trimmed beveled glass mirror, matching leather note pad with silver pencil, and a perfume bottle/atomizer filled with Arpege from Paris among other things. All this was custom fitted neatly into the rear armrest and glove box compartments.
The Brougham also marked industry firsts in all sorts of technological advances and luxury: Air Ride suspension that made the ride and handling light years ahead of a "regular" Cadillac (Or any other car on the road at the time for that matter), electronic memory seat position system (Basically a primitive computer), an automatic engine starting mechanism (Turning the ignition key was apparantly for people without money), an automatic trunk that opens, closes, locks and unlocks with a touch of a button in the glove box. In addition there were crude fiber optics, amazing plastic sun visors with built in Venetian blinds, and to top it all off lambskin mouton carpet that looked like a fur coat on the floor of the car. These carpet sets put even a Rolls Royce to shame! There were also many similar unusual features far too numerous to list. Of course there were the usual full power assists with air conditioning. This was strictly for those privileged few who could afford the car of the future while living in the present.
The Brougham had no options! Everything was standard equipment. The only choices that had to be made were exterior paint color and interior fabrics, which came in a huge variety. The Brougham had many special paint colors formulated exclusively for it. You could also order the full line of regular Eldo paint colors, and regular Cadillac paint colors on a Brougham. The colors available only on the Brougham were much more complex than standard Cadillac, or Eldorado, colors. Due to the fact that the paint formulas were more complex they have an unusual way of changing appearance in various lighting conditions, which makes them more interesting to look at. Since there were so many color and fabric choices available quite a few one of a kind Broughams were built!
This was the first and only time a concept "Dream" car from a major US automaker was available to the public. In 1957 and 58 only 704 stainless steel top Eldorado Broughams were produced. This was the height of decadence. It was the original personal luxury car! Unsurpassed even today it still stands out as an exclusive dream in a world of mass- produced fantasy!
The Eldorado Brougham is the Cadillac of Cadillacs, and the most unique and exciting of all post war American cars. Its incredible 25 years ahead of their time technical features, combined with its “Mission to Mars” styling, make this hand built milestone the epitome of the 1950’s tail fin era. The crowning symbol of the unique free enterprise system exclusive to the United States, back in the day when capitalism was celebrated and allowed to work unapologetically the way it was intended. (This is when GM was one of the finest and most profitable companies in the world, not the pathetic socialist dystopia it is today!) Nothing Detroit ever built, aside from the Motorama dream cars, can even come close to it. In fact it has much more in common with the Motorama cars than it does with anything else built in Detroit during that time.
I know most collectors first gravitate toward the Eldorado Biarritz, which is also a fabulous car. However later these same people begin to fully understand what the Brougham is and realize it is easily 10X more amazing than the Biarritz, which all would agree is ordinarily very hard to top! The Brougham was the ultimate super car long before that term had been invented. It was the first sport luxury super car!